Stand up for yourself, and dare to dream: this is the message from Eurovision Song Contest 2019’s singer from Israel, Kobi Marimi.
Eurovoix got the chance to speak with Kobi right before the show at Eurovision in Concert last Saturday, April 6 at the AFAS Live concert hall in Amsterdam. We got to talk about his favorite Eurovision memory, what fans should expect from Israel in May, and the message of his song “Home”.
As this year’s contestant singing on home turf, Kobi is thrilled to invite Eurovision fans to Tel Aviv.
“I don’t have to say too much about my country and about Tel Aviv because you’re all coming to Tel Aviv, you have to,” he said. But his invitation isn’t just for those who are going to see the Eurovision shows.
“Even if you don’t have a ticket for Eurovision, there are gonna be so many other events all over Israel, in Tel Aviv, big screens and great parties,” he added. “So you should come and maybe just go to the beach, or have a cocktail on a beautiful rooftop.”
Kobi’s journey to Eurovision started when he was much younger. His favorite Eurovision memory is a specific song from when he was in his teens.
“It was Eurovision 2005. I watched Chiara who represented Malta,” he said. Chiara’s performance of her song, “Angel,” made him feel validated in a very personal way. “For me, as an overweight child, watching her onstage, getting so much love — she won second place! She gave me so much power. I still listen to the song until today. I love it, I love her.”
It was those feelings he had, as an overweight child facing a lot of societal pressure, that he channels into his song “Home.”
“A lot of people told me that I’m not good enough, that I look different, that I maybe don’t have a place, that I don’t deserve a place in this world,” he said. “I’m dedicating this song to everyone who ever felt insecure or ever felt lost. You do deserve to feel at home in your own skin, just stand up for yourself, and dare to dream!”
He chuckles a bit, realizing that he just said the slogan of this year’s competition.
“First time I’m saying ‘dare to dream’, but yeah, that’s it!”
Kobi will be singing his song “Home” at the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Tel Aviv on May 18.
Thank you very much to Kobi Marimi and the Israeli delegation for their time, as well as Eurovision in Concert for making this interview possible.
Israel debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973, and were represented by Ilanit who finished in 4th place with the song “Ey Sham”. Their first victory came in 1978 with Izar Cohen and the Alphabeta. Israel won again the following year with Gali Atari & Milk and Honey. Israel’s third victory came in 1998 when Dana International performed “Diva” in Birmingham, beating Malta to victory in a tense voting sequence. Israel struggled in the contest during the early-2010s, failing to qualify for the final from 2011-2014. However since the HaKokhav HaBa selection process was introduced in 2015 Israel has seen its fortunes turned around. In 2018 Netta won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Toy”, the song has gone on to be the most viewed Eurovision entry of all time on YouTube.